ECONOMYNEXT – The electricity regulator, the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), will not accept an electricity tariff hike even if the Cabinet approves the electricity minister’s proposal, said PUCSL Chairman Janaka Ratnayake.
A proposal to raise electricity tariffs in two stages this year was presented to the Cabinet by Power and Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera on Monday (02), but approval was delayed by a week amid strong opposition to the move.
“The proposal is based on false facts and figures. Therefore, even if the Cabinet makes a decision, we will not accept it.”
“We are empowered to refuse it. Therefore, we urge the public not to panic. PUCSL is not considering increasing tariffs at this time.”
Ratnayake said the proposed tariff increase is based on facts and figures presented by the general manager, senior engineer and ministerial secretary of the state-owned utility company Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB).
“Fortunately, the Cabinet did not make a favorable decision on this point. If they had made a decision, it would have been based on incorrect facts and figures,” Ratnayake said.
“Therefore, we strongly urge Ministers not to make decisions based on this unlawful proposal, but to ensure that PUCSL considers the appropriate decision and goes through the correct route properly.”
“The CEB has a department that makes decisions on tariffs, and the proposal should be passed by the CEB’s board of directors. But the current proposal has not passed any of these stages,” he said. rice field.
The new proposal only proposes raising tariffs on 5 million people using less than 90 units, with the ministry hoping to earn 100 billion rupees in 2023.
About 1.5 million households use less than 30 units, about 1.6 million use less than 60 units and 1.7 million use less than 90 units, according to Ratnayake.
“Rs.8 charged per unit in the category under 30 units will be reduced to Rs.30 and the fixed charge of Rs.120 will be increased to Rs.400. Rs.10 per unit in the category under 60 will be increased to Rs.37 and Rs.90. 16 rupees per unit in the under and 120 categories goes up to 42 rupees,” he said.
“Rs.50 per unit for categories over 120 units and Rs.75 for categories over 180 units have not increased. Fixed charges for these categories will increase by about 500.”
He said there was no need to raise electricity tariffs given the availability of raw materials for power generation and a stable rupee after sharp depreciation.
The CEB has not properly managed the increase in operating profit they have obtained, adding that the utility provider’s operating profit has reached Rs 35 billion after the tariff hike in August 2022.
“Before proceeding with restructuring, I strongly recommend that the Board properly manage the amounts it receives from citizens of this country,” he said. (Colombo/January 5, 2023)